Harbaugh Tells Stanford He'll Return

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Jim Harbaugh set the record straight
Tuesday: He plans to stay put coaching at Stanford.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Harbaugh might interview for NFL openings in Detroit or Oakland and that he reportedly had met with the New York Jets last Thursday about their head coaching vacancy.

"In response to persistent reports speculating my interest in other coaching positions, I would like to unequivocally state that I am 100 percent committed to Stanford and I look forward to leading this football program for years to come," Harbaugh said in a statement released by Stanford on Tuesday.

"Due to the complete physical and emotional investment that has been made by everyone associated with our program, I believe we are building a program that will contend for the Pac-10 championship. I
have no desire to coach anywhere besides Stanford at this time."

Athletic director Bob Bowlsby has remained optimistic of completing - and soon announcing - a three-year contract extension for the coach that has been done in principle since the Cardinal's season ended without a bowl appearance. The extension would take Harbaugh through the 2014 campaign.

"We have agreed to terms with Coach Harbaugh and are working on
final language," Bowlsby told The Associated Press in an e-mail last week.

In Harbaugh's second season, Stanford finished one win shy of making it to a bowl game for the first time since 2001 - losing to rival California 37-16 in the Big Game.

The Cardinal (5-7, 4-5 Pac-10) haven't been to a top-tier bowl since Tyrone Willingham won the conference and led them to the Rose Bowl following the 1999 season. Stanford made it to the Seattle Bowl in Willingham's final season in 2001 but have not been back to the postseason since.

Stanford said Harbaugh wouldn't comment further about the situation.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)